Remember our Meet the Bloggers series? Today we are going to spend some "getting-to-know-you" time with Seija Emerson.
Seija encourages all of us to write recommendations for our favorite books and she is the one displaying them and keeping the whole section tidy. She also makes the art and architecture section shine. Besides being a whiz on the sales floor, Seija has a certain knack for skepticism and well-chosen adjectives.
What are 3 books that will always be on your bookshelf and why?1984 by George Orwell, because when I read it at age 14 it was the first book that disturbed me on a deep, psychological level. At the end of the novel, when O'Brien tortures Winston into betraying Julia, I started to realize that novels can help us understand human nature.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, because it's just a great story perfectly told. Also it made me confront my feelings about feminism and Christianity in an unexpected way. To balance it out, though, I have to put Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea next to it so that I don't get too carried away in all the naive romance.
Sophie's Choice by William Styron. I think I've already said enough about that one.
How do you choose your books? Recommendations? Reading Reviews? A long running list of titles that stand out?
I don't read a lot of new fiction. I'm stuck in the first half of the 20th century. Although I'm really getting into fiction from the 70's. I like to alternate between books that are plot-driven and books that are idea-driven. In other words, quick reads and slow reads. I love getting YA recommendations from Anna, Kitri and Caitlin in Kids Books!
Every reader has their favorite spot, where do you read and what do you need to have around you when you read?
Ideally, in bed with my cat, but more likely in a cafe. The dangerous thing about reading in public is that I can't help but listen to other people's conversations, so the book has to be able to hold its own with those kinds of distractions.
What makes good fiction really good?
It's the same with music and food: you have to try everything to see what works for you. I want to be challenged in some way by fiction. I hate it when novels have no internal logic, or when an author's voice comes across as affected. I like fiction that is unsentimental; I want to be shown original characters, narratives and philosophies. Also I think good fiction has to make you feel a little uncomfortable.
Who is the creepiest character you've ever read?
Muldrow, the main character in James Dickey's To the White Sea. From the very beginning, you're rooting for him and hoping he survives, and then as the novel progresses, you start to understand that you're not on the right side. He's a xenophobic, ruthless murderer and you kind of like him.
Also, Jerzy Kosinski writes some truly creepy characters.
You can see all of Seija's posts here.